UNDER THE MOON

From a British storyteller's repertoire, three stories to tell or read aloud—graceful morality tales about busyness vs companionability, the perils of disobedience, and making altruistic use of ``luck.'' In the title story, a workaholic ``old woman tossed in a basket'' sweeps cobwebs from the sky for the wispy, whispery man in the moon. ``Little Ivan'' is an adaptation of an Eastern European tale of a heedless boy who, tricked by Old Mother Wolf, is rescued by his clever grandmother with the help of a children's band (with plenty of opportunity for audience-supplied sound effects). In ``The Apple Child,'' the well-being of a village is at stake when a nurturing spirit contends with the forces of decay, personified as an ``elder bogle.'' French adheres to the satisfying fairy-tale convention of grouping events into threes. Her dialogue is marked by repetition and delightful snippets of colloquial speech; opening and closing paragraphs are models of artistry, echoing imagery and phrasing while contrasting moods to emphasize happy endings. The outlook is commendably positive and humane; characters move from separation to connection with lots of shivery moments but no violence. Fisher's pen drawings are as timeless, quirky, and lively as the tales. An enchanting trio. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-56402-330-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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HELLO, HARVEST MOON

As atmospheric as its companion, Twilight Comes Twice, this tone poem pairs poetically intense writing with luminescent oils featuring widely spaced houses, open lawns, and clumps of autumnal trees, all lit by a huge full moon. Fletcher tracks that moon’s nocturnal path in language rich in metaphor: “With silent slippers / it climbs the night stairs,” “staining earth and sky with a ghostly glow,” lighting up a child’s bedroom, the wings of a small plane, moonflowers, and, ranging further afield, harbor waves and the shells of turtle hatchlings on a beach. Using creamy brushwork and subtly muted colors, Kiesler depicts each landscape, each night creature from Luna moths to a sleepless child and her cat, as well as the great moon sweeping across star-flecked skies, from varied but never vertiginous angles. Closing with moonset, as dawn illuminates the world with a different kind of light, this makes peaceful reading either in season, or on any moonlit night. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-16451-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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